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Home > City Resources > Sports and Recreation > A silver lining in Indian cricket

Converting hardwork into smilePrior to the Australian series Vangipurappu Venkata Sai Laxman, the stylish Hyderabadi batsman was just a struggling cricketer trying to cement his place in the team. But the Australian series has completely changed the fate of Laxman as well as that of the Indian cricket. For India, a batsman was reborn and for Laxman-a permanent place in the team for some time to come. Rising like a phoenix, Laxman proved to the world that he is not an ordinary cricketer. In rewriting the record books as the highest individual scorer for India at Eden Gardens, Laxman made clear that he is a batsman with exceptional skills.

In crafting one of the all-time great innings, as Steve Waugh also acknowledged, Laxman took a giant stride in his attempt to show the world his batting potential. At the start of the series, he was unsure of his batting skills. And when he clicked, the world appreciated. The way he batted against the mighty Kangaroos not only cemented his place in the team but also contributed immensely for the team's win against one of the powerful cricketing sides in the game of cricket. That he did it in such a grand style speaks for the man's amazing temperament and talent. Laxman's tally in the three test series was 503 runs with 281 as the highest score.

A stylish batsman The genial Laxman might well have ended up a forgotten man of Indian cricket had he not concentrated on excelling in domestic cricket. It was tough on Laxman to keep proving his credentials season after season, but he did not give up. That Laxman went on to become India's highest individual scorer in Test cricket was a confirmation of the man's awesome talents. He got an opportunity and he grabbed it with both hands. A disappointed Eden Gardens had waited as India followed on. But Laxman changed the face of Indian cricket with that record breaking epic knock. Apart from the record breaking Eden Gardens knock, the 167 he scored in the third Test against Australia at Sydney in January 2000 will always be something very special for him.

Hitting over the topLaxman has openly acknowledged that he owes a lot to ML Jaisimha and Md Azharuddin. And indeed there are shades of those two stylists in the manner he bats, especially in his elegant drives. Though he dispelled any theories that he could not bat aggressively in putting together that dream knock at Sydney, Laxman basically remains a batsman for whom patience, timing and technique are of utmost importance. Prior to that he had scores of 96 against Australia at Calcutta in 1998, two half centuries in the West Indies in 1997 when he stood up to the pace of Ambrose and Walsh with a fair degree of conviction and a brilliant 67 against Pakistan at Calcutta in 1999. Laxman may lack some of the glamour that is associated with some of his team mates but he prefers to be what he is - a quietly efficient and determined cricketer.

Born in 1974 to Dr V Shantaram and Dr Sathyabhama, Laxman had a special liking for cricket since his childhood. The younger of two brothers, Laxman studied at Little Flower High School in Abids and later at St Mary's College in Himayathnagar. He was a great cricket fan and spent all his pocket money on sports magazines and cricket equipment. His mentor in sports was his uncle, RB Krishnamohan, who put him through the basic nuances of cricket culture and practice. "Laxman has a penchant for high scores. He is extremely focused and updated his techniques regularly," said Krishnamohan about Laxman. According to Laxman's father, an orthopaedic surgeon, "My son had worked hard for years to make this mark. I think one of his biggest strengths is his will power".

 In a roaring formLaxman who is gearing up to face the future tournaments was recently honoured by Hyderabad Cricket Association. In a grand felicitation function held at the Gymkhana Grounds, the Hyderabad Cricket Association presented the Indian cricket star VVS Laxman, rupees one lakh and a silver plaque for his exhilarating exploits against all the powerful Australians in the recently concluded series. The function was attended by more than a thousand people, Mohammad Azharuddin and Mrs ML Jaisimha being the prominent ones apart from the chief guest, Minister for Home and Cinematography, Mr T Devender Goud.

-MAR Fareed

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